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Monday, January 21, 2019

Basketball: A Game of Mistakes

Coach Bob Knight said, "basketball is a game of mistakes." We won't totally eliminate mistakes, but learn from them. Another old saying is, "one mistake, bad play, two mistakes, bad player, three mistakes, bad coaching." Accountability means holding to a high standard. 

In Malcolm Gladwell's MasterClass 'Research' chapter, he reminds us that just because something isn't recent doesn't make it less valuable. The mistakes that I made as an ordinary player in the 1960s and 1970s still inhabit players in abundance. Newell's 1962 Basketball Methods still resonates truth. "Don't commence your defensive play after your man receives the ball. Make your offensive man show you he knows how to create a lead." 

Mistakes are inevitable; what mistakes matter the most? Holster mistakes that lead to opponent scoring, deny our scoring, and to possession change (turnovers, violations). Some examples: 

Fix mental and physical mistakes. "You can't stay on the floor if you don't know your defensive assignment." You also can't play if you can't contain your man. 

We coaches own bad shot selection, poor spacing, high turnover rates, and players misunderstanding our intent. "What hasn't been learned hasn't been taught.

Coaches obsess over "what does my team need now?" We need to intensify our work on layups, transition defense, and being patient enough to let actions develop (rebounders waiting for outlets to clear and BOB plays to open). 

We can always get better. What does your team need now? 

Lagniappe: "No middle, no paint." My players hear this a lot. shares this Bruce Weber drill for emphasis. 

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